Community: Gertrude Ness, 107, is a highlight at luncheon

November 05, 2013|By Joyce Rudolph
  • Woman of Distinction Gertrude Ness, center, with her daughters Dianne DeGeer, left, and Jo Ness at the Patrons Club fashion show luncheon.
Woman of Distinction Gertrude Ness, center, with her… (Photo by Joyce Rudolph )

The theme for the Patrons Club's luncheon was never more apropos — “Planting Seeds Through Education,” as proceeds go to Glendale Community College student scholarships and grants-in-aid.

College Superintendent and President David Viar said the organization’s purpose is clear — “People who are supporting, championing or protecting.”

“Patrons members are supporting students seeking to achieve their educational goals, championing an outstanding community college that serves its community and region with distinction, and protecting the mission and vision and values of a community college education,” Viar said.

More than 250 supporters happily filled the Starlight Room of Burbank's Castaway restaurant on Friday afternoon. They gave a standing ovation as longtime member Gertrude Ness, looking much younger than 107, received the Woman of Distinction honor.

Guests also bid in silent and live auctions and sat back to watch a dazzling show of fashions from Holiday Hats & Gowns modeled by friends of the college.


The main dish of filet mignon tips over penne was complemented by carrots and broccoli. For dessert — tiramisu cake — ahhh, divine!

Patrons president Carolyn Payne looked like a model herself, sporting a sophisticated black-and-white ensemble. Chairwoman Marianne Jennings and her committee dreamed up lots of ways to take home prizes.

Grand-prize winner of $1,000 was Danna Rountree of Glendale. Live auction winners were Denise Neale, scoring Angels tickets; Samir Abourass, rebounding a Lakers game; Kim Holland, catching a Dodgers game next season; and Tawny Welch, celebrating the new year at the Rose Parade.

Former college superintendent John Davitt watched with pride as his wife, Gael, modeled stunning styles on the runway. Others looking equally smashing were Nancy Greene, Tamara Hughes, J.C. Moore, Erin Kurasz, Margaux Corsini, Heather Glenn and Sadot Aziskhanova. Moore's royal blue evening gown with a thigh-revealing slit was a show-stopper.

Their dapper escorts were Henan Joof, Austin Kemei, Samir Abou-Rass and Alen Andriassian. Each added a touch of comic relief.

The college’s scholarship program bestows about $300,000 each year to 500 students, making it among the largest in the community college system, said Paul Schlossman, dean of student affairs. He attributes the program's success to the many partnerships with civic organizations, area businesses and community members.

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